22ND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME - A
Our physical bodies are prone to seek what is pleasurable and avoid pain. This is reflected in the choices we make in life in our basic needs: good food, beautiful clothing, nice shelter. But life is more than the pleasure we seek because we are called to something greater than satisfying the needs of our senses.
Because of Peter’s profession that Jesus was the Christ, He was called by Jesus as “the rock” and was given the keys of the Kingdom of heaven. Peter might have professed that Jesus was the Christ but he never understood the meaning of his confession. When Jesus explained that his messiahship involves pain and suffering which will lead to his death, Peter rebuked him. He could not believe that his Christ will suffer such horrible death on the cross. Jesus said “Get behind me, Satan.” The name “Satan” comes the Greek word ‘satanas” which means a tempter. Before Jesus embarked on his public ministry the devil first tempted him with what we may call as “three shortcuts to glory.” Jesus called the devil “Satan” precisely because he tempted Jesus to achieve glory without the cross. When his public ministry was about to end, Jesus started to prepare his disciples by explaining to them his impending death. Peter tempted him just like the devil not to go to the cross.
We are all masterpieces in becoming! Like a piece of marble we have to endure every blow of the chisel in in the hands of the Master Sculptor. He chisels away what is not necessary until the masterpiece in us comes into life. Each blow entails pain but it is needed to bring out the best in us.
Pain is inevitable to life; pain is a sign of growth. Our mothers have experienced the most unimaginable physical pain when they gave birth to us. Pain is the antecedent to the birthing of life. Since we needed a spiritual rebirth, God like a mother would experience the worst pangs of birth ever through the sufferings of Jesus. That is the imperative of the cross. God gave birth to us on the cross that is why as disciples of Jesus, we are all following a naked and suffering Christ.
What is your cross at the moment? Even if it seems eternity for some, it is not the end of everything but a channel to something greater than all our sufferings. Our mothers can tell us the unexplainable joy after the pain of giving birth.
It is very hard for us to appreciate our crosses in life but they are our way leading us to the fullness of our being. We are reborn in every moment of our life until we come to the full stature that God has envisioned for us. Like a mother, God is also in pain with us because He is giving birth to us continuously until we are born to eternal life.